Saturday, September 26, 2009

Murahachibu - Live [+1], 1973 (192kbps)

"They're revered as gods, inarguable deities of Japanese rock...within the Japanese rock scene, that is. Move outside Japan, however, and the mood changes: Julian Cope's Japrocksampler openly states that their music was "monotonous crap," and his sentiment has been echoed in English sites across the internet.

This, I suggest, is a combination of unrealistic expectations and contrarianism. After hearing about the band's reputation, their unpretentious dirt rock may seem a letdown. While the music has clear antecedents, there was no blueprint for who Murahachibu were in Japanese society, something which is obviously overlooked (or under-emphasized) in Western assessments of their music, but which is central to understanding music in general, not just rock 'n' roll.

Ultimately, I fail to see how any fan of sloppy rock 'n' roll can champion, say, "Exile On Main Street," yet disparage Murahachibu's 1973 live recording: yes, they're falling over themselves. Yes, the vocals are barked more than sung. Yes, the guitar riffs are essentially revved up Chuck Berry workouts. Since when did these become criticisms? Like "Exile," "Live" isn't about the tunes, but about momentum, the intangible feeling a band achieves when they lock in, even when...especially when...they whip up a groove that seems like it's going to collapse at any second. Chabo doesn't sing so much as rant, spitting out free form declarations that often seem utterly disconnected to the music rumbling beneath him. His delivery in "んッ!!" initially does what's expected, more or less, following the tune in a vaguely coherent manner, but gradually devolves into detached rambling, like the crazy guy on the corner hitting his stride. "んッ!!" isn't a word, but translates into a James Brown like declaration along the lines of "Unh!!," which fits the tune's shambling, Ike Turner-esque kick perfectly."
- Text by Jrawk

Named 20th (Rolling Stone Japan) and 15th (Takarajima) Greatest Japanese Rock Album of All Time. This remastered CD edition comes with a bonus track, Gomibako no futa.

村八分 - ライブ

  1. あッ!! [A!!]
  2. 夢うつつ [Yume Utsutsu]
  3. どうしようかな [Doushiyoukana]
  4. あくびして [Akubishite]
  5. 鼻からちょうちん [Hanakara Chouchin]
  6. 水たまり [Mizutamari]
  7. のうみそ半分 [Noumiso Hanbun]
  8. 馬の骨 [Umanohone]
  9. ねたのよい [Neta no yoi]
  10. ぐにゃぐにゃ [Gunya Gunya]
  11. のびてぶぎー [Nobite Boogie]
  12. んッ!! [N!!]
  13. どこへ行く [Doko he iku]
  14. にげろ [Nigero]
  15. どうしようかな [Dousiyoukana]
  16. 序曲 [Jokyoku]
  17. ゴミ箱のふた [Gomibako no futa]